Did A Hedge Fund Guy Unlock The Biggest Question In The Universe?

A Grand Unified Theory is the greatest missing piece of contemporary math and physics. Now, Oxford believes that a man 20 years out of academia may have discovered it.

If you aren’t a space or physics geek, you may have missed one of the big, looming questions left by 20th-century scientists. Namely, we have a theory to explain how things work on a small scale--like magnetism holding together atoms (quantum mechanics)--and a theory to explain how things works on the large scale--like gravity coaxing planets to orbit one another (Einstein’s theory of relativity). But what we don’t understand is how these two ideas mesh together to explain it all. So the current Holy Grail in math and physics is a Grand Unified Theory capable of gluing the two worlds together into one.

Today, at 4 p.m., a man named Eric Weinstein will present his own unifying theory at the University of Oxford because he was invited to do so. And that’s a point of particular significance, as Weinstein may have a Ph.D. in mathematical physics from Harvard, but he’s spent the last two decades outside of academia. He’s currently an economist and consultant at a New York hedge fund.

So do you want to hear his big idea? You know you do. From The Guardian:

In Weinstein’s theory, called Geometric Unity, he proposes a 14-dimensional "observerse" that has our familiar four-dimensional space-time continuum embedded within it. The interaction between the two is something like the relationship between the people in the stands and those on the pitch at a football stadium--the spectators (limited to their four-dimensional space) can see and are affected by the action on the pitch (representing all 14 dimensions) but are somewhat removed from it and cannot detect every detail.

Because of our limited purview--what Weinsetin calls a “handedness”--we simply can’t see things like the dark matter that we know resides in our universe. Along with that:

He proposes that dark energy is a type of fundamental force that could sit alongside gravity, electromagnetism, the strong and weak nuclear forces. This force pushes space apart and its strength is variable throughout the universe. Furthermore, Weinstein’s theory predicts the existence of more than 150 new subatomic particles, most of them with exotic properties (such as electric charges that are greater than one, which is the maximum seen in nature at present).

No, it’s not exactly a simple idea (though I’d urge you to read the entire Guardian piece if all of this is gibberish), and it’s very likely wrong (or best case, incomplete). But what’s so absorbing about the story is that Weinstein has been talking to some of the world’s leading physicists for the past year or so, and they think he may be on to something. He’s an outsider who’s been invited to add to the conversation on one of the biggest questions of our time.

Plus “Meet Weinstein, Our New Einstein” is the sort of headline that dreams are made of.

Read more here. And read more of Weinstein’s research here.

[Hat tip: Paola Antonelli]

[IMAGE: Universe via Shutterstock]

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19 Comments

  • Pepepaco

    please stop being narcissists, if we cant see other dimensions, that's because we are not smart enough, lets make a very smart machine that figure that out for us.

  • Otterbear

    The reason I think this theory has taken such a root, if you will, in the imagination of both scientist and theorist alike, is in the way it seems to concur with the "Gut" instinct we all have of the Unified Theory. We can all see the effects, but cannot appreciate the cause. Hence, ANY 3+ dimensional theory seems to correlate what our senses and physics are telling us must be the case.

  • Jmaxwell

    To Be A Grant the small stuff is the big stuff. with better of a unified theory of the relation between quantum physics and classical physics we will be able to understand and possible harness the power of fusion( solves world energy crisis, faster than light travel (moves man beyond the earth) , matter replication ( solves greed),  teleportation may become possible along with other concepts  foreseen by scifi

  • RealitySwitch

    What a depressing set of comments.Sweating the "small stuff" in all areas of science has produced many valuable advances that help us in our lives. See http://www.lhc.ac.uk/About+the... for some details relating to physics. Google can help you to find stuff about other areas of science dealing with "small stuff"."Inability to see things that we know exist sounds like a pretty old concept. Faith? Nice one, science." - It might be an old concept, but it's bullshit. We only _know_ that things exist if we can confirm them through experiment and observation. Anything else is just an idea. Maybe a really interesting idea, but just an idea.

  • To Be A Grant

    In my very humble opinion. These brainiacs (and I use the term brainiac with the utmost respect) should quit sweating the small stuff. Put their intelect to better use. "What's in that 'massive' space between atoms, quarks or whatever!?" Nothing. Just the attracting force it has to a particle bigger than it. Whats in the space between you & I? Air. Get over it. Please, with sugar on top. Thanks.

  • Billy

    Dr. Dennis Morrison, while working for NASA, created nanoceramics. His intention was to explore nanomaterials for the space program. One could argue that the space exploration is irrelevant as all the planets in our colar system bar earth are uninhabitable for humans. Dr. Morrison's creation led to a new form of cancer treatment where the nanoceramic particles are converted into balloons that can carry cancer fighting drugs. These balloons can be injected straight into the tumour and, using a magnetic field, be melted to release the drug. Fighting cancer was not Dr. Morrison's intention, however, his discovery has created another tool to fight the disease. UFT may not have a direct tangible benefit at first glance, but knowing everything about everything will unlock the gates for a whole new era of scientific discovery that could benefit mankind for eons. Besides that, we evolved through our thirst for knowledge, understanding the unknown and manipulating it. Thats why we are not slinging our own feces at each other right now.

  • Jamie Sumner

    And He is before all things, and by Him all things are held together.Colossians 1:17 
    Jesus Christ our king holds all things together, and yes! He is from another dimension!    We already know that we live in at least 10 dimensions, but only 4 are knowable.  Maybe there are 14. But what we know for sure is that Jesus loves us and died and rose again on the third day to save us, So that we may have eternal life! We praise your Holy Name Jesus!

  • MiMiPLR

    No truer words were ever printed! No matter the scientific question, God IS the ultimate answer!

  • rbfanman

    Pitch, and football, equals Cricket played a ta soccer stadium would be my guess.

    The theory about a 5th force, and 14 dimensions, seems to fit the known facts so far.

  • AWOL_Andy

     He lost me at "pitch" and "football". What kind of crazy sport is he talking about?

  • ED

     The field in soccer (or football if you're outside the US) is often called the pitch.

  • George

    Inability to see things that we know exist sounds like a pretty old concept. Faith? Nice one, science.